He studied in Kannada medium till Class 10

N.R. Narayana Murthy

N.R. Narayana Murthy  

It is a coincidence. The second Vishwa Kannada Sammelan to be held in the border district of Belgaum from March 11 to 13 is scheduled to be inaugurated by a man who was born and brought up in another border district.

While one can see the Marathi influence in Belgaum bordering Maharashtra, Infosys chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy, who is set to inaugurate the sammelan, was born and schooled in the erstwhile undivided Kolar district bordering Andhra Pradesh.

Even as the Government's decision to invite Mr. Murthy to inaugurate the sammelan has come under an attack from certain groups which have alleged that he is “anti-Kannada”, the fact remains that the Infosys founder studied in Kannada medium schools for 10 years in the Telugu-dominant Kolar district.

Mr. Murthy was born in Shidlaghatta town (in August 1946), now in Chickballapur district, and his mother N.V. Padmavathamma's family hailed from Nadkanayakanahalli in Shidlaghatta taluk.

According to N.K. Gururaja Rao, a maternal cousin of Mr. Murthy who lives in Shidlaghatta, Mr. Murthy joined Class 1 at Honnurpet School in Shidlaghatta. After a few months he was admitted in the Government Primary School in Chintamani town, where his father, Rama Rao, was teaching in a high school. He studied up to Class 7 in Chintamani and then joined the Government High School in Srinivasapur as his father was transferred as the headmaster of that school.

“During those days there were no English medium schools in Kolar district. Mr. Murthy studied in Kannada medium till Class 10. He can speak Kannada and Telugu fluently,” Mr. Rao told The Hindu on Tuesday.

On the “anti-Kannada” charge made against him, Mr. Rao said Mr. Murthy should not be dubbed “anti-Kannada” just because he has been advocating education in English medium. Apparently, the difficulty Mr. Murthy might have had faced in the early years of his career due to his schooling in Kannada medium could have made him to bat for English medium education, Mr. Rao said.

In fact, one should feel proud that Mr. Murthy, who brought “global identity” to Bangalore and Karnataka, had been invited to inaugurate the sammelan, Mr. Rao said.

‘Narayana Murthy should not be dubbed anti-Kannada because he's advocating English medium education'

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